The Hague

Graffiti all around (Or: Step in the Arena)

Last month Marco and I visited Eindhoven for a short weekend as a belated anniversary trip. One of the things we saw was an area full of graffiti called “Step in the Arena”.

That’s the name of graffiti festival that has taken place for the last 10 years in the Berenkuil, which translates to bear pit in English. It’s a roundabout for cars, along with a sunken level underneath for bikes and motorcycles. 2019 was the 10th edition.

Here are some of the photos from the 2019 festival’s graffiti:

And finally, a claw crane game:

It was definitely a great spot to visit and one I can recommend (although it was about a 20-25 minute walk to get there).

Categories: Marco&Niki, The Hague | Tags: | 2 Comments

Cleaning day (Or: Hard to reach places)

Well, even those windows need to be washed.

An early morning photo from the inside of De Passage (Dutch Wikipedia article) while the windows were being cleaned.

This covered shopping area was first opened in 1885, making it the oldest shopping centre still in use in the Netherlands.

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Cinnamon (Or: Limited edition coke flavors)

Spotted at the local Albert Heijn a few weeks back:

Neither Marco nor I wanted to try the flavor, as it does sound a bit weird. But I always enjoy taking photos of the weird drink flavors companies up with (or weird potato chip flavors, in the case of Lay’s).

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Unexpected smells (Or: A steam powered car in The Hague)

On the way to Kelly’s expat store, Marco and I saw a steam powered car on Elandstraat. Very unexpected – and quite smelly actually!

No idea what it was doing there.

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Invasion of the farmers (Or: Invasion of the army?)

Yesterday The Hague was host to thousands of farmers and their tractors. The reason? Farmers protesting one of the government parties proposed reducing nitrogen emissions by 50% by reducing the number of livestock sold. This was after the Council of State (the highest Dutch administrative court) ruled that nitrogen levels were too high around some nature areas.

The farmers had already protested in The Hague on October 1st, also with their tractors. This caused a nation-wide traffic jam of 1,000km (620 miles) in the morning on their way to The Hague. Additionally, there was also a protest earlier this week in various provinces, with some less-than-desired outcomes in the Groningen province (including a farmer using their tractor to break down the door to the province building, another tractor ramming through blockades and narrowly missing a cyclist, etc.).

Since the farmers wanted to protest in the Binnenhof, which is never allowed, The Hague decided to rent out heavy equipment to block major streets into the city centre. This was also done to protect any shoppers Which wasn’t completely successful yesterday as there is a video on the internet of smaller tractors going through a side shopping street.

Continue reading
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High wind causes detour (Or: Danger of falling glass)

For the last few months the walkway between the train station The Hague Central and the city centre is closed whenever there are high winds (article in Dutch). Pedestrians must take a short 5 minute detour via the Bezuidenhoutseweg towards Herengracht.

This measure is taken whenever the wind speed is over 50-60km or 30-37 mph. The reason? Four windows broke in June and July in the Dutch ministries office building pictured below, although at the time summer heat was considered the reason. It is not that big a deal, since it’s for everyone’s safety. Still – sometimes you just want to get home. Especially when it’s dark and late.

This was the scene again Friday night, so I decided to take a photo. It’s probably a thankless job, telling annoyed tourists that they have to walk around…

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Horses and trumpets (Or: Practicing for Prinsjesdag)

Last Sunday Marco and I were enjoying coffee at the central library when we saw a commotion outside the window. The police were practicing with the royal horses in advance of Prinsjesdag (held last Tuesday), with the route going past the library.

The final day of practice is traditionally held the day before the event, with the horses being trained on the beaches of Scheveningen. The horses have to navigate loud crowds, fireworks, sudden movements, etc., as preparation for the ceremony.

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Palace Gardens (Or: The last embrace of summer?)

The Netherlands is enjoying a last minute fling with summer today, with temperatures over 80F. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but here it is! I decided to take a stroll over to the Palace Gardens, which I’ve already blogged about a few times over the years (2012 and 2016).

Palace Gardens / Paleistuin in The Hague

It was lovely to sit in the sun and just read a book. Today I started a book by Neil Gaiman – The ocean at the end of the lane or De oceaan aan het einde van het pad in Dutch, as that was the language I was reading it in. It’s about a man who goes back to where he lived as a child to attend a funeral. While there he gets lost in his memories of his childhood.

One interesting and unexpected thing was that the book begins with a preface which reads “Ik schrijf in mijn eigen taal. Dat is Engels. Ik ben er erg dol op. Het is een goede, soepel taal, waarin ik kan uitdrukken wat ik te zeggen heb. …” Or, translated: “I write in my own language. That is English. I am very fond of it. It’s a good, flexible language where I can express what I need to say.”

I thought that was quite strange, and wondered if that preface was in every version of the book. But no, he goes on to say that his sister-in-law lives in Utrecht (a city in central Netherlands) and he brings his family to the Netherlands as often as he can to visit. He goes on to say that you don’t need an English/American upbringing to read this book, and since it is now translated into Dutch you can read it too (of course the preface was translated as well, since he doesn’t speak Dutch). Kind of cool.

The only small downside to going to a park to read is that sometimes you can get distracted and not be able to focus on the story. Especially when what you are trying to read isn’t in your native language… When I arrived, I chose a nice sunny bench, at the end to give others plenty of room to also sit down (the benches generally fit three adults). I’m at the far left, with no benches to my left. To my right, there are another three benches, all grouped right next to each other.

After a while, a man sat down on the other end of the bench I was at. No problem at all; he was just watching his kid. About five minutes later a woman sits down next to him, so I promptly and politely moved my backpack to the ground so she definitely had enough room. And then they began to talk. Argh.

Oddly enough, I had no problem when the conversations happening were at the next bench (about five feet away), but one foot away was a bit much. Especially since they were tourists speaking English, which meant hearing one language and reading another. I was pondering my options – 1) suck it up and keep reading 2) go find another bench 3) leave. But after a few minutes they all got up and left. Yay.

So I kept reading, having a personal goal of getting to 100 pages. I did that, and was at page 103 when two more people sat down at “my” bench with a few other folks in their group standing around them. And they began to talk loudly. Arghhhh again. This time I gave up – I was past my goal anyway – put my bookmark in place, stood up and left immediately.

I don’t know. Maybe I expect too much. It is a communal park after all. 🙂

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Festival tip (Or: The Streets of Chuck Deely)

This afternoon the city centre will be hosting a festival in honor of the street musician Chuck Deely who passed away in January 2017 (where has the time gone, really?).

The festival will be held from 12:00-18:00 in the Grote Markt street. The description says “musicians will be at every street corner”. From 18:00 the musical arts will move to the big stage at the Grote Markt, ending around midnight.

Download the schedule (PDF)

More information at chuckdeely.nl or visit the Facebook page The Streets of Chuck Deely.

Flowers left in memoriam outside of Bijenkorf after his death
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Cotton candy truck in The Hague (Or: My head hurts)

Like everywhere else in the world, The Hague has its own dialect. The comic Haagse Harry exclusively uses this dialect (Dutch Wikipedia). It gives me a bit of a headache to try to read that one, but of course Marco can do it fairly easily.

Last month we spotted this cotton candy truck, written phonetically in the Haags dialect. The actual Dutch is “Genoeg suikerspin voor weinig” or “Enough cotton candy for little” (cheaply). But as you can see, the letters don’t look anything like that!

Seen on some street in The Hague early last month

If you want to translate some Dutch to Haags you can do so with this translator. Or check out the blog post I wrote when The Hague erected a statue of Haagse Harry in the artist’s (Marnix Rueb) honor.

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